- Last Friday, September 17th, Lydia, Adrianna, Lyd’s mom, and I were on our way down to the Solanco fair, with me driving. While on 222, I began seeing shapes to my left side of my vision, and over a short time the shapes grew to the point that they were preventing me from being able to see the road and traffic.
- I pulled to the side of the road, told Lydia I couldn’t see, and lost control of my hands and head which were then shaking in a focal seizure for about 45 seconds, during which I was either unconscious or in a strange half-conscious state of mind.
- I “awoke” feeling very strange, but coherent, and we decided to drive to Quarryville Medical Clinic to get checked out. Lydia drove there, for obvious reasons.
- The clinic was closed, and we ended up at Lancaster General Health’s ER at the recommendation of a doctor we talked to on the phone. I felt fine at that point, but very famished with hunger.
- In the ER we had a battery of tests and blood work done, all of which came back normal. I even talked to my mom and and dad on the phone and told them not to come home early from their beach vacation because I was feeling close to 100%.
- We were about to be discharged, the nurse literally on her way down the hall, when I began seeing the shapes again and told Lydia I thought I was having another seizure. This time I lost consciousness and had a grand mal seizure, one which required 8 nurses/doctors to keep me from convulsing off the bed. I don’t remember much of anything that night, but at that time was admitted into Lime 7 in LGH, which is for brain trauma patients, mostly stroke.
- Picking up the pace, I was released Sunday with the diagnosis of epilepsy. I’m on some pretty strong meds that seem to be controlling any seizures so far, but are having their way on my body. Each day I’m not sure if I’ll be wired, tired, ecstatic, or depressed.
- Epilepsy is pretty much a catch all disorder that’s diagnosed if a victim has two or more unprovoked (and unexplained) seizures. From my understanding, it’s a regular “mis-fire” in the electricity in the brain, and can, on occasion, ripple throughout the brain, resulting in a seizure.
- For the 27 years of my life so far, I’ve lived a pretty healthy life with no traumatic experiences, such as this, save for some sports related injuries along the way. Some of which were concussions, which may or may not have led to the epilepsy.
- So after being discharged on Sunday afternoon, we returned home, and for the next week or so my body wrestled with adjusting to the meds as well as recovering from the actual seizure.
- The past few days have been much better, and make me optimistic for the long term results of the medicine … it’s just been a challenge. One of the more obvious challenges is I’m not able to drive for 6 months – a state law for anyone recently diagnosed with epilepsy.
So, it’s been a rough week. During this all, Adrianna fell down the stairs at my parents’ house, Lydia, Adrianna, and me all went through a nasty stomach virus, and then Adrianna fell in a weird way that ripped her fingernail off in the bloodiest boo boo of her young life. And yet, I’m amazingly happy and positive through it – mostly, I believe, because of the strong prayers being offered consistently up by friends, families, and local churches.
- I’ve met, and will continue to meet regularly, a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy outside of Harrisburg, and have been really pleased with the care received with him so far.
- My wife, who has had a more traumatic week than I have by a long shot (I don’t remember the worst parts) is amazing and supportive and loving. I’ve always loved Lydia, but seem to appreciate each day with her just a little bit more now.
- My family is bending over backwards to help me and we were able to stay at mom and dad’s during the week so they could help take care of Adrianna and me,
- My friends have all offered to shuttle me around and anything else we need.
- Ron, my employer, visited me in the hospital and told me to take as much time off as I need, even if it goes beyond what I have available. He’s also paying for office space in downtown Lancaster that enables me to work 2 times a week from there, so I don’t have to drive.
- I woke up the same person after the seizure, with no noticeable negative effects, and God just so ordained it that I started reading a book on how the brain heals and changes itself the week before this all took place.
- The loss of my license actually forces me to begin working in Lancaster, something I’ve included in my five year career goals. God must have thought these plans needed fast forwarded, and I’m happy to be able to walk to work several times a week.
- I have a new way of empathizing with those who have health issues, and a new appreciation of each day that we’re given. Things I may have waited to do “tomorrow” I realize need to be done today.
But it wasn’t, and isn’t, easy. I cried several times during the week. I threw up. I felt like I weighed twice my weight and couldn’t move. My head felt like it was going to simply implode. I felt like I was at my wit’s end – but I wasn’t.
In my devotions, I’ve been reading through the Psalms, and this time has found me in Psalm 42ish-47, all of which seem to focus on God’s sovereignty, his complete control. It’s helped me not to question whether God wants me to go through this or not. He obviously does, and he wants to use it to advance his plans through me, whatever they may be.
I can choose how to react to it: play the victim and find a convenient excuse not to do good things, or take this epileptic-shaped lemon and make same dang tasty lemonade. It wasn’t my choice that this happened to me – but it is my choice in how I respond.
I’ve returned to work, and have had a great two days back in work mode already, and with the help of the medications will most likely not suffer any long term effects. So it’s not like my life has been destroyed and rearranged in some manner that’s devastating – but even so, it’s been challenging. And I choose to accept the challenge and run with it, not roll over and embrace sympathy-deserving excuses on why I can’t achieve things I want to achieve.
Don’t duck the lemons thrown at you, Jack. Don’t get hit in the face and stay down. Run with them. Make the best of them. No matter what their flavor, they’re from God. I can’t accept a theology that embraces God’s blessings and curses the challenges. They’re both from God, and he’s promised to help me get through each of them. Till next time, Jack.